When the second day of testing came to an end, in Ducati Pramac they were all smiling. The work on both sides of the box focused purely on the race pace for the first round of the season, but Pecco Bagnaia also managed to pull himself up into fifth place in the standings, while Jack Miller ended the day in 15th place, about one second and a half from the top. The Italian can therefore consider himself to be satisfied at the end of the day, both for the work done and for the result.
"I did a good fast lap - explained Pecco - without the usual amount of fuel for a time attack, and in general things went better than yesterday. I worked a lot on the consistency with the tyres: I made a long exit with the soft but it didn’t feel good, due to excessive movement at the rear, while with the medium I lapped at a pace that was a second faster than yesterday. I think that this is "my" tyre.”
The most important development in Ducati is the device to lock and unlock the rear monoshock of the bike, about which Pecco said.
"It is very easy to use. Perhaps the biggest problem is the fact that you are riding a MotoGP at certain speeds, and there isn’t much distance between one curve and another. I started using this solution here and not in Malaysia, because it takes time to understand it: it certainly helps you open the throttle and when exiting corners. For Jack it is probably already automatic since he has been using it since last year, for me it will become automatic and I think I will use it in the race."
On a personal level, Bagnaia reflected on his winter, and laid down the gauntlet in view of the season.
"At the moment I think I am riding the bike better than last year, when I struggled a lot because of the crashes that made me lose confidence. This year I started with a "fresher" and more prepared mentality, I feel good and I already improved a lot in Malaysia. There is obviously a lot of work to be done - he concluded - but today I also took a step forward and I am getting closer to the best".
Miller: "The most improved bike in terms of top speed is the Aprilia"
Jack Miller for his part won’t let himself be discouraged by his position in the standings, well aware that he is preparing the ground for the first round of the season. “Today I focussed on race pace - he said – and trying to get to know every aspect of the new bike. I think I’m at a good point, the times are coming relatively easily even after several laps, so I am confident for the race".
The main problem remains the tyres, which the Australian doesn’t seem to like.
“I tried the medium like I did yesterday, but the feeling is that it is too hard, just as the soft one seems too soft. Tomorrow I will continue to try them, I’ll have to see with some long runs which one is suitable for the race".
Miller also has his say on the new Ducati device, in some way expressing a different opinion to Bagnaia.
“It's not easy to use, especially on a race weekend, as there are so many things to do on the bike. It’s not difficult however, I used it in Phillip Island last year and it certainly helps you. Overall, I think the bike is at a good level, we are putting a lot of laps in and we’re getting a positive response: it’s difficult to make a big step forward from one year to the next, but we are improving especially for the race".
In conclusion, one of the most important aspects is the top speed of the various bikes, and Jack reveals who in his opinion has made the most significant improvement.
"We have always had good top speed and we’ve kept that. The Honda has made a step forward in terms of top speed, while Yamaha and Suzuki are still behind, especially the latter. I think Aprilia is the manufacturer that has made the biggest step forward in this area”.